Simplified Email Signatures

   Scroll down for my new email signature. I blogged nearly two years ago about how I created this signature. Recently, my image hosting service has been screwing up a lot, so I moved the images, necessitating rebuilding parts of the signature. Fortunately, I've discovered easier ways to do several parts of it:

HTML Editor

   Previously, I used industrial-strength Dreamweaver because it was part of my Adobe Creative Suite. But the learning curve was very steep. Now, I'm using Komodo, which is free and much easier to use.

Image Host

   Previously, I used ImageShack to host the chiclets and book image in my signature because I could never get images to work when hosted on Zenfolio or MobileMe. Recently, I've switched to A2 Hosting as part of my move from iWeb to Sandvox. After my recent troubles with ImageShack images disappearing, I decided to experiment with putting them on A2. I created a folder for the images in my public_html folder, tested it, and Bingo! It worked! Here's my twitter chiclet, for example, so you can see the URL.

What to Edit?

   I tried for almost half a day to figure out how to edit the .webarchive files directly, because that's where the signatures are stored. I eventually gave up on that, because I could never find a tool to do it directly. Back when I originally created the signatures, I noted that the first thing to do was to build html files for each signature, then use Safari to save as .webarchive files. So I still had the original html files, and that's what I ended up editing.

Editing HTML

   I didn't need to totally create the signatures from scratch, as I was just modifying what I already had. What made it much easier was that once I fixed the image sources by changing them from ImageShack to my Original Green site, I was easily able to copy the HTML of the chiclets from the first signature and paste it to each of the other signatures quickly. You can only edit the html in Komodo, so it's not a true WYSIWYG editor, but if you click the Preview button in the toolbar, it splits the window, showing the html in the top half and the design in the bottom half.

Saving Signatures

   I don't know why I hadn't seen this earlier, but there's a much faster way to save signatures than what I'd previously used. To begin, simply open all of the html files in Safari and Save As .webarchive files. These files should be named obviously. The New Urban Guild signatures for Wanda and I are named NUG_Steve.html and NUG_Wanda.html, for example. So the corresponding .webarchive files are NUG_Steve.webarchive and NUG_Wanda.webarchive.

   Next, open a second Finder window next to the window holding the html files and navigate this second window to Home>Library>Mail>V2>MailData>Signatures. Start at the top of the Signatures window and work down. The .webarchive file names are complete gobbledygook that you can't possibly remember or distinguish (like 2FE15CC0-C16E-458D-BCE0-A6A894EFCE8B.webarchive,) but all you need to do is to click each file and tap the space bar to bring up the preview window so you can see which signature it is (New Urban Guild, Guild Foundation, etc., in my case.) Click into the gobbledygook file name, and copy it. Go to the master html window and find the matching .webarchive file. Click into its filename, and paste the plain-English name with the gobbledygook name from the Signatures folder. Finally, move this file into the Signatures folder, overwriting the old .webarchive file. Do this for each signature and you're done.

   As promised, here's what the signature looks like:

© 2012 The Guild Foundation Press